Friday, September 25, 2009

I Heart Hawaiian Style

Hawaii for me conjures up images of an eternal summer. Big waves, black sand, volcanoes, lush greenery, colourful clothes, Mai Tais by the ocean, Gidget strolling down Waikiki Beach.
Having said all this I've never actually been to Hawaii, but I suspect my desire to go there has something to do with the island's cultural currency. Growing up watching Gidget and Elvis midday movies; open mouthed at vision of the first big wave surfers at Sunset Beach.

The point I'm getting to is that the theme for my wedding is "Vintage Hawaii" and consequently I've become just a little bit obsessed with vintage Hawaiian clothing.

I recently purchased a pink 70's Malia sundress on Ebay, but some more collectible and coveted labels are Kamehameha, Malihini and the master print-maker himself Alfred Shaheen, who sadly passed away in 2008. Great Hawaiian style of decades past was defined by tropical and tribal prints on largely functional (i.e. easy to wear) resort style clothes such as swimwear, cover-ups, sarong dresses and of course the ubiquitous and often kitschy Hawaiian shirt.

Alfred Shaheen hand painted many of his fabrics. His 50's sarong dresses, like this tribal print yellow, are so desirable these days, that they definitely don't come cheap. Most particularly if they are in good condition. You can pick this one up at Glamour Savvy.

I had my eye on this drop dead gorgeous Alfred Shaheen wrap dress at Posh Girl Vintage for months, and when I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy it (it was my size and everything!), some other Cinderella had wisely made her move. I will always love you dream dress ...

I'm not aware of the label on this lady in red, but it is definitely Hawaiian and definitely pretty. Perfect for a summer BBQ or picnic and available for purchase at Lucite Box.

I love a matching bolero and nothing screams chic resort wear like red, white and blue.

I'm dangerously drawn to blue or green florals, and thus I'm dangerously drawn to this Kamehameha fit and flare dress. From Hakther on Etsy.

I could totally wear this sixties wrap-dress to work. Flattering, elegant and oh so happy. From Ebay.

Super cute 1950's swimsuit by Kamehameha, which could also double as a playsuit. From Cupcake Vintage on Etsy.


And did you know that the revered Tina Leser (whose hand painted dresses are AMAZING), started her fashion label while living in Honolulu? Her prints drew their inspiration from the many cultures present in the melting pot of Oahu. This dress from TimeLess Vixen is a real one-of-a-kind piece of art.

I'm building up quite a collection of images, so these barely scratch the surface. I'd love to hear from anyone with their own piece of Hawaii hanging in their wardrobe.
On a somewhat unrelated topic - though it does involve clothing and glorious prints - I recently picked up this drop dead gorgeous skirt on one of my scavenges. This cheery little number has helped me step into Spring with aplomb.

5 comments:

Ms. B said...

That Timelss Vixen dress is TDF! Oh how my heart aches that I don't have the money to plop down for that!

Andi B. Goode said...

Oh, wow, they're all so wonderful! Have you seen the Whirling Turban repro dresses? They're fab, too.
-Andi x

Louise said...

You're right ... I just checked out their site and the dresses are amazing. Loving some of the fabric choices.

Greetz from Tiz said...

Louise, I just adore the 50's sarong dresses!Elegant, feminine and so amusing!

Lisa said...

Glad to find your blog! I love Tina Leser and am fortunate to have 2 of her hand painted signed pieces! Thanks for the article!